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HomeConservationHelp save Tea-tree Fingers

Tea-tree Fingers Tom May

 Tea-tree Fingers on branch (Tom May CC-SA_NC)

New site found 2017

Keep your eyes open! This year, Tea-tree fingers has been spotted at a new site - and on a new host - Burgan (Kunzea ericoides). We are keen to do surveys to understand current populations and hope to discover why more are fruiting this year.

Help save Tea-tree Fingers

Tea-tree Fingers (Hypocreopsis amplectens) is the only macrofungus listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. However, as yet, no action plan for this species' survival and recovery has been developed.

Recent surveys by Fungimap and the community suggest that in the last decade it has disappeared from two of the three known locations on the Mornington Peninsula and Coastal Gippsland.

We are asking local people to keep their eyes open for this threatened species and contact Fungimap if they find it. There are concerns that it may have become critically endangered, therefore we are keen to locate any surviving populations.

Please help find Tea-tree Fingers

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Tea-Tree fingers (TTF) fruit bodies are about the size of a 50¢ coin (~2-5 cm) and clasp small branches. Fungimap has created an identification booklet and survey forms to help gather data about TTF.

This booklet is designed to help you recognise TTF and record information about this rare fungus. We hope to find out about new populations which could be present on public or private areas of bushland.  Download booklet here (Note this is 220 dpi resolution so is 3.5 MB).

Known Victorian populations have been found in long-unburnt heathy woodlands and Tea-tree thickets on the Mornington Peninsula and Coastal Gippsland. TTF has been found in other vegetation types including forests with southern beeches (Nothofagus) in New Zealand and New South Wales.

Tea-tree Fingers only fruits on some of the available woody substrates, mainly standing dead wood (stags) and branches. These are usually about 2-5 cm thick and about 1 m long. Typically it favours wood that is dead but not yet lying on the ground.

Species of Hypocreopsis are unusual, because they live on other species of fungi (they are 'fungicolous'). They are probably parasites - of fruit bodies or the mycelium, possibly both. As yet we know very little about how our species TTF (Hypocreopsis amplectens) lives, which is why your observations are so important.

TTF lives on  wood-rotting fungi. The main host is thought to be a species of Hymenochaete, which emerges as flat brown patches on the under surface of fallen logs and branches.

Get to know what Tea-Tree fingers looks like and keep your eyes open wherever you go!

Spotted it? Let us know!

We have drawn up threatened species survey forms and examples to show how they should be filled in. We would also welcome any extra information you can send us. For conservation efforts it is not only important to know where species are when but we also need to know when people have looked for TTF and have NOT found it.

Download Survey Forms or Example forms.

If you would prefer to submit your observations as a “chatty” email rather than as forms email us Fungimap (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Please take care

Please do NOT collect Tea-tree Fingers or the likely host fungus Hymenochaete species. At this point, we have not learned enough about the biology to know if collecting is detrimental to populations.

Also please take care moving through the bush. Be aware of this species’ substrate requirements and avoid trampling dead wood onto the ground.

Please be aware that locations where Tea-tree Fingers could be found may have high conservation value. In order to prevent the spread of weeds and pathogens, good hygiene is essential. Before carrying out any searches, please make sure to clean any equipment, including footwear. Ideally Phytoclean or methylated spirits should also be used to clean boots and equipment between any sites you visit.

Good luck fungi hunting. If you have any questions contact Fungimap (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Help save Tea-tree Fingers by donating

 To donate once off, either send a cheque to "Fungimap Inc" at c/o Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne,  Private Bag 2000,  South Yarra VIC 3141,  or click on the paypal button to donate on left via credit card or bank transfer using Paypal (you do not have to have or register for a PayPal account). Donations are normally acknowledged in the Fungimap newsletter, so please let us know if you would prefer to be anonymous. Tax deductibel donations to the Austral Fungi Fund support Fungimap's objectives of increasing knowledge and conservation of Australian fungi.
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